No one likes pests. In the 1960's, advertisements flooded magazines discussing how housewives could win the war on pests with household pest control products containing DDT, the toxic chemical that was later banned. Pictures of housewives standing at the frontline were outfitted with cans of the pesticide while cockroaches lay at the bottom of the advertisement overpowered.
That was almost fifty years ago and a lot has changed since then! It's safe to say that in the 1960's, there was a revolution in pest control products. Housewives prior to these products had only used natural methods to rid their homes and gardens of pests. DDT entered the picture and though it was effective at the pests, it did a lot of damage, too. Now, in the twenty-first century, those natural methods are becoming far more popular than those strong chemical pesticides. There are many benefits to these natural methods—they are better for your health, they are better for the environment and they really work.
EnviroCitizen.org has a few helpful tips for getting rid of some of the most common household pests:
- If you've got an ant problem in your home, there are a few natural ways to keep them out. Soapy water (of course, you should use organic soap) deters ants very well. You simply put a little bit of soap in a spray bottle, fill it with water and spray the areas where the ants are. You can also put a few cucumber peels or slices near the ants' point of entry, since the bitter peel of cucumbers act as a natural aversion to ants. You could try sprinkling some crushed mint leaves on their trails, as this also irritates the ants. Cayenne pepper, lemon juice, cinnamon and coffee grounds also work well to deter ants, as does citrus oil.
- If cockroaches are creeping around your kitchen, diatomaceous earth is a great solution. Commonly found in brand names like Celatom or Celite, this cockroach killer is safe for humans! It works by cutting up the cockroaches' waxy exoskeleton. This is an effective, safe, natural way to rid your home of cockroaches, though it takes about two weeks to fully take effect. Catnip is also a cockroach repellent (only for homes without cats). You can boil catnip tea, which you can then spray around baseboards and behind counters.
- If you've got fleas in your home, go to the grocery store and get some citrus fruits (lemons are great). Pour a boiling cup of water over a sliced up lemon and let it sit overnight. Then, take the mixture and spray it over carpets, pets or any other place where fleas are commonly found. You can also plant fleabane (a daisy) to repel fleas.
- If you've got pests in your garden, there are natural ways to get rid of them, too. Bounce fabric softener works well to repel gophers and moles, as the fragrance of oleanders is a natural repellent. Stuff a few sheets into tunnel openings and cover them with dirt. You can also add coffee grounds to your garden, which effectively repel moles and naturally fertilize your garden. If you want something a little easier, put a portable radio inside a freezer bag. Turn the radio on, seal the bag shut and put it in your garden. Moles and gophers are frightened by human noise, so talk radio is a perfect way to keep them away.
This is just a short list of a few natural ways to control pests the EnviroCitizen.org has put together. Do yourself, your children, your pets and the environment a favor—do it naturally!